Ten Things You Need for Home Repair Emergencies

Posted on 6 December, 2017 at 21:55 Comments comments (15)

10 things you need for home repair emergencies

Fire Extinguishers. By the time firefighters arrive, it’s usually too late to save things. Fire extinguishers can prevent fires from spreading, saving property and even lives. Put one in the kitchen, garage and on every floor.

Lights with Fresh Batteries. Keep flashlights and lanterns in every room.

Tarps. Severe weather can damage windows and roofs. Tarps stop rain and debris from entering.

Clear Plastic Sheeting. Not as strong as tarps, but good for furniture, and over windows.

Duct Tape. Great for everything from cracked glass to cracked pipes.

Nails and Screws. Have a good supply in lots of sizes.

Plumbing Fittings. Ask your plumber what fittings you need to close damaged pipes.

Spare Parts for Appliances. Ask your appliance repair service what parts are useful to have on hand.

Tools. Adjustable wrenches, claw hammer, screwdrivers, pry bar, tape measure, hand drill.

Extension Cords. Have different sizes to reach areas where power may be cut off.

Please text, email or call us any time for information about financing a home purchase, or refinancing for a lower rate or for upgrades.  (469) 363-3298 

Mortgage rates are still near historically low, so don’t wait to contact us about today’s excellent options.

Moving Time!

Posted on 29 November, 2017 at 21:50 Comments comments (18)

Moving is no fun. I’ve heard that a person can truly find out who their real friends are on moving day. For all the excitement that comes with finding and closing on a new house, moving into that house offers the opposite. It is stressful and hard work. It is a time to evaluate your possessions and decide whether or not you even need them. It can also be a good time to weed your possessions and donate to charity. 

Packing. Loading. Unpacking. In my moving experience, I’ve tried it both ways: packing and moving everything ourselves and hiring a company to do it all. There are positives and negatives to both. The important thing is to make the right decision for your family’s situation. If you have the time and physical ability to pack and move everything yourself, you’ll save yourself a lot of money. Plus, you can rest assured that things are done the right way. No one is going to take care packing your stuff like you. On the other hand, doing it yourself is a lot of work. If you don’t have physical limitations and can afford it, why not outsource the work to someone else?

The first time we moved across the country, my son was eight weeks old and my daughter was two years old. With an infant and a toddler at home, we could hardly find time to wash our hair. Finding time to pack all of our earthly possessions and then load them onto a moving truck was laughable. Without a moving company, we would not be moving. We also had financial considerations (hello children!) and couldn’t spend an exorbitant amount of money. I soon realized that getting a moving quote wasn’t as easy as clicking some boxes and entering some information online. Before they would give us a quote, the moving companies needed to come out and look at our stuff. We chose the most reasonable quote and signed up. On the scheduled day, they came with boxes and supplies, packed everything up, and loaded the truck. When the stuff arrived at our new house 1,800 miles away, they unloaded it all. We were responsible for unpacking. While unpacking our stuff, we quickly realized that we had paid to move a bunch of unnecessary stuff that I like to call “junk.” If we had taken the time to go through our stuff and donate some of it prior to hiring the moving company, it might have cost us less and we wouldn’t have to deal with unpacking (and donating) all of that stuff while moving in. 

Four years later, when we were moving back, we decided to move ourselves. Our kids were older (free labor!) and we had the time and help that we needed to pull it off. This time, we began to weed through our stuff, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically. My husband and I seriously considered selling all of our furniture and just buying new stuff for our new house. There was no guarantee that our “old” stuff would work in our “new” house. I’m glad that we came to our senses and kept some of our stuff because, let’s be honest, who has enough money to re-furnish an entire house? We certainly don’t. And our gold sectional couch fits just perfectly in our new home. To complete this job, we rented a U-Haul, loaded it up, and hit the road. It was a lot more work, but cost us about 35% of what hiring a mover would have cost. 

Every time we move, I say that we’re never going to move again. This time I mean it. Unless something too good to pass up hits the market. I do still get those real estate notifications…

24 Preventive Maintenance Must-Do's

Posted on 21 September, 2017 at 11:35 Comments comments (20)

24 Preventive Maintenance Must-Do's


Smoke, Carbon Monoxide Detectors. Check operation, replace batteries.

Fire Extinguishers. Make sure they’re accessible and have adequate pressure.

Dryer Vent. Clear out lint that could catch fire.

Wires. Replace frayed cords.

Railings, Steps, Walkways. Fix unsafe conditions.


Roof. Check and repair shingles, flashing, eaves, soffits.

Chimney. Repair cracks, clean flue if needed.

Gutters, downspouts. Clean, check slope, add extensions to take water away from foundation.

Drainage. Grade soil to drain water away from foundation.

Faucets. If you get freezing temperatures, shut off supply valves, open spigots and drain. Put hoses away.

Windows, Doors. Repair, caulk cracks, replace weather stripping, install storm windows if needed.

Paint, Siding. Check, repair.

Decks. Repair, reseal.

Trees, Shrubs. Trim away from house and power lines.

Driveway. Seal cracks that could later expand.


Attic. Check insulation, leaks.

Ceilings, Walls. Check and repair cracks and water stains.

Tile, Tubs, Showers. Repair grout, caulking.

Kitchen, Bath Fixtures. Repair leaks.

Refrigerator. Vacuum and clean coils.

Central AC. Schedule annual service, cover outdoor units in cooler climates

Heating. Schedule annual service, change filter in forced air systems, bleed radiators in hot water systems.

Hot Water Heater. Flush, remove sediment.

Basement. Check for cracks, dampness, mold.


If you’re looking to maintain another home, or to refinance for a lower rate or fund improvements, please text, email or call us... (469) 363-3298


Are you Pre-Qualified?

Posted on 11 August, 2017 at 11:30 Comments comments (24)

Shopping is fun and shopping for a house is no exception. Driving around neighborhoods, searching local listings online, and looking at interior photographs are all great ways to become informed about the real estate offerings in your area. But when you get ready to seriously shop for a home with the intent to purchase, your selection process needs to be precise so that you don’t fall in love with a house that is outside of your budget. 

That’s where pre-qualification comes in. It is the first step in purchasing a house, something to do even before you contact a realtor. In fact, some realtors won’t even show you a house if you aren’t pre-qualified. The process is fairly simple (think income, assets, debts) and allows a mortgage company to determine the maximum amount of money they’ll loan you so that you’ll know what homes are within your budget. Once a lender pre-qualifies you, you will get a letter that provides your realtor with this information to help facilitate the home selection process.

Being pre-qualified also enables you to make an offer on a house so that when you do find the house of your dreams, you’ll be ready. Oftentimes, the seller looks at the pre-qualification letter to decide whether or not they want to accept the offer. In a hot market where sellers receive multiple offers on a house, the terms of the loan outlined in the letter and the mortgage company that issued it are often taken into account when deciding which offer to accept. Sellers want to ensure that the sale isn’t going to fall through because of the buyer’s financing and a strong pre-qualification letter is a good way to show the seller that you are serious.

The mortgage experts at Team Neal can walk you through the pre-qualification process. There will be some paperwork and they will ask for information about your income and expenses to evaluate what amount will work with your budget. Then they will take the information you provide and use it to get an idea of how much money a bank will loan you for a house. This will help you narrow your search and be ready to make an offer when you do find the house that’s perfect for you.

Choosing a Lender

Posted on 26 July, 2017 at 8:15 Comments comments (1028)

I shudder to think about the first time I purchased a house. I was no more than twenty-one years old, in my first marriage, and remarkably uneducated about the world of finance. My now-ex-husband and I drove by a development one day, decided to stop, and ended up signing a contract for a house. (I do not recommend making such a large, life-changing purchase on a whim. This was pretty much our MO-- it’s not surprising that this marriage self-destructed.) The house was nice enough, but neither of us knew the first thing about home purchasing or ownership.


After the nice saleslady talked us into signing a contract on the yet-to-be-built home of our dreams, she told us that we would get a discount if we used one of their in-house lenders. A discount? On a house? Sign us up! We knew nothing of the terms of the loan. Words like “points” didn’t mean a thing to us. We were buying our first home and this lender was making it happen. As I mentioned earlier, we didn’t do a very good job of thinking long-term. What a mistake!

Fast-forward seventeen years to today. If I see a pair of shoes that I want, I put in the research looking for coupons, watching the sales, cross referencing the price with other stores (the internet makes it so easy!). Buying a home is quite possibly the biggest purchase that you and your family will ever make. It’s definitely worth the time and consideration to shop around and understand your mortgage. I know, I know-- it can be confusing. Shoes, sales tax, percentages off of retail isn’t that complex. A mortgage is incredibly complex. That’s why you need a good mortgage agent who will take the time to answer your questions and custom-tailor your mortgage to fit your needs. It doesn’t cost any more to go this route; in fact, it will more than likely save you money in the long term.

One day not too long ago, I was having lunch with one of my very good friends. We’ve known each other since Kindergarten and have gone through all the major phases of our lives together. She and her husband were in the process of buying a new home for their family and she was telling her frustrations. It was stressful enough finding the perfect house and getting a reasonable offer accepted, she was telling me. Now they were having issues with their lender-- he wouldn’t return their calls, their closing date kept getting pushed back, and they had lots of unanswered questions. I told her that she should give Team Neal a try. “Can I even change lenders this far in the process?” she asked. I told her to give them a call and find out.

After taking to Team Neal, my friend called me and told me how happy she was with their services. Their closing date was moved up and their monthly mortgage payment was going to be over $200 less than her original lender had told her. Team Neal used their “boutique” mortgage services to customize a mortgage for my friend’s family’s needs. Rather than just plug numbers into a formula (something a lot of lenders do), Team Neal takes the time to figure out what works best for each of their individual clients’ needs. And that makes all the difference.